North Dakota House approves bill banning abortion procedure - InfoNews

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North Dakota House approves bill banning abortion procedure

January 31, 2019 - 1:41 PM

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota's Republican-led House endorsed legislation Thursday that would prevent a doctor from using instruments like clamps, scissors and forceps to remove a fetus from the womb.

Representatives voted to outlaw the abortion practice known as dilation and evacuation, the most commonly used procedure in second-trimester abortions. The bill uses the non-medical term "dismemberment abortion" and is graphic in describing it.

Except in cases of an emergency, doctors performing the procedure would be charged with a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The measure says a woman having the abortion would not face charges.

Abortion-rights groups argue that banning the procedure is unconstitutional because it interferes with private medical decisions.

Laws banning the procedure are on the books in Mississippi and West Virginia, while Ohio's new law will take effect in March, according to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research organization. Similar laws are on hold because of legal challenges in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Last month, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Dakota, heard oral arguments over a judge's decision to block Arkansas from enforcing its law.

The North Dakota bill now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate. Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has not indicated whether he would sign or veto the measure.

If passed, the measure would not take effect until the state's attorney general recommends it is "reasonably probable" it "would be upheld as constitutional," according to the bill.

Republican Rep. Luke Simons, the bill's sponsor, said the decision from the federal appeals court on the Arkansas law likely would decide if the North Dakota law moves forward.

North Dakota has one abortion provider, the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo. Clinic director Tammi Kromenaker has said her facility's lawyers would wait for a decision in the Arkansas case before deciding on possible legal challenges to North Dakota's legislation.

The measure is the second to pass North Dakota's House this week, and the first time in six years lawmakers in the conservative state have pushed bills restricting abortion.

On Monday, representatives approved legislation that would require abortion providers to tell women undergoing drug-induced abortions that they could still have a live birth if they change their mind. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said there is no medically accepted evidence that a drug-induced abortion can be interrupted.

That proposal follows similar and successful bills in Idaho, Utah, South Dakota and Arkansas.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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